This is the first Psalm to bear a title. It is a Psalm of David and we are told that this Psalm was born from his plight from his son Absalom. If you turn to 2 Samuel 15, you will find the story there and how deep the conspiracy was that Absalom plotted against his father, that he turned the hearts of the people towards himself and away from David. Absalom had made himself king by sweet deception and now he sets his face towards his Father to have him removed. David being wise, gathered his whole household and fled not knowing whether he would return or not but that he committed to the LORD.
So we read in vs. 1, O LORD, here he pleads directly to God, the same God who told Samuel to anoint him as King of Israel. The same God who delivered him from the hands of the philistines and the jealousy of Saul, to this God he makes his plea and one can imagine David to be on his knees drenched in tears and declaring with an heaviness of heart, O LORD, how many are my foes. Here, David expresses to God the wonders of foes who are against him. He sees the multitude of his enemies and is dismayed by it, they are to much to count and this brings him very low. If he turns to the right, there is an enemy, if he turns to the left there is a foe. His troubles are never ending for as each day passes by there is yet a new foe who rises up against him. The psalm is also an evening psalm, a psalm for believers who feel the heaviness of the enemies oppression and the brutal betrayal of close friends. The arrows of the enemy is bent, targeting the mind and hearts of believers, the devil roams like a roaring lion and what are we a mere sheep to do? Just like David, his precious counsellors forsook him and so it may be that your close ones may turn against you and double is the inflicted pain upon your unsettled soul. Sorrow may come in the winter but spring may bring forth Joy but how miserable is the sorrow which comes season after season, yea, even in the summer. David had numerous enemies but our Precious Saviour had more. The whole host of hell was against him, our sins was a plague to him, he bore our infirmities and carried our sorrows, the hate of men burned against him, his friends deserted him and the cross witnessed his drinking to the full of that bitter cup.
But we see David to take his heavy yoke upon God, and in his pleading to God he remarks a statement which would have had more injury to his injured soul. The closed wounds were reopening and with immense sobbing he dared not contemplate the truth of it. For it is one thing for the enemy to inflict a physical suffering and yet one can rejoice exceeding in the soul, but when the soul of man is attacked, the body will find no rest but aches and torment will follow him. His enemies boasted about him that vs. 2 God will not deliver him. This was his enemies sword to his spirit, for they could not touch him physically so they touched him spiritually with their words. It is a most terrifying believe to contemplate that God has left a person and it is the worst of all possible things in the universe. Let my mother and father forsake me, but not God because He is my only comforter and resting place. If God was to leave me then I am better of not to have existed and double is the pain of this truth to the saint who once knew God and fell in Love with him. No breaking of the heart spoken of here on this earth could describe the stinging of the departure of the heavenly beloved. For it was the cry of our Saviour upon that rugged cross when at last the Lamb opened his mouth in perilous cry, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me”. Here, our messiah is forsaken so that you may never be forsaken, he was rejected so that you may be accepted. So, when the enemy say of you that God has forsaken you; despite your trials and hardship, light the fire of your faith and declare with David, vs. 3, But you O LORD are a shield around me; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. David asserts his confidence in God. He remembered God’s promises and faithfulness. He declares that God is a shield around me. Peace must now flood the heart of David and we can imagine him to have begun to lift his head and his crying beginning to cease. God is a shield to him and what injuries can the enemies inflict against God? Who can lift up their sword and prevail in battle? The devil tried but the cross disarmed him. Although the foe bends his bow and roars mightily, the shield of our Shepherd is impenetrable, the whole trinity defends us. More than having confidence that God will protect him, David asserts that God bestows on him glory. This glory, David had witnessed when he was king and will once again witness when God vindicates him and seats him once again in his temple. Earthly glory diminishes and the glory given to a believer is not like that which was given to Moses who, would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. But we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
David is confidant of the divine protection of the LORD and vs. 4 to the LORD he cries aloud, that is all of his troubles he communicates with God and he declares that God answers him from his holy hill. Did not our Lord say to us “I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name… ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete”. God loves to hear our prayers and loves to answer them, no payer of the saint is ever wasted and though there may be a delay according to your timing, God always answers our prayers and gives to us for certain those things in which he has promise in the holy scriptures and in his divine wisdom answers our prayers according to his will and what we need. So, flood the heavens with your petitions and let it be real.
Vs. 5 I lie down and sleep. Note here, the peace that comes from the assurance that God is a shield around me. For when the heart is heavy, one finds it hard to sleep but the heart filled with faith in God will not be so troubled by his conflict because he knows that God is able to protect him and thus one sleeps with comfort resting one’s head upon the breast of Jesus. As he sleeps in peace, David also awakes in peace, I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. His troubles have not killed him in his sleep because he forgets about them for the peace of the LORD rules his mind and he dreams of his heavenly beloved and all the while he sleeps God sustains him. He acknowledges the sovereign hands of God in his waking because if it the LORD had not sustained him then he would not have awoken again but is despair would have killed him or his enemies would have found him. Knowing of the sweet protection of the LORD, he declares to himself in his waken that vs. 6 I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side. David readies himself for the day and although the sheer multitude of his foes should make any man tremble, yet David trembles not. Should we not be the same as David, to sleep with peace in the night and awake with this emphatic declaration, that although the storms rages all around me, I will not fear for my captain is the one who rules the storm. David venturing into his daily storms is wise to begin with prayer and his prayer is of an active nature for God to move and grant him victory. Vs. 7 Arise, O LORD! Deliver me, O my God. David ask of the Lord to deliver him and it will be so as long as God arises. He ask of God to strike all of his enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked. This was a fitting prayer for David to pray because his enemies had spoken lies against him and spoken falsely about God that God had forsaken him and will not deliver him. The cross has disarmed all the victories of the enemy towards you believer, therefore be confident and declare victory over your enemies for we wrestle with the spirits of the air. Pray for the kingdom to come and where there is affliction and chained souls, rejoice and pray exceedingly with confidence and gladness of heart for our captain has given us the victory.
Vs. 8 From the LORD comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people. It is clear from this verse that David ascribe all deliverance to come from God. The salvation of men’s soul from the pits of hell is all of God. It is God who delivers and salvation belongs wholly to the LORD our righteousness. Paul affirms the same truth when he writes, “For it is by grace you have been saved, though faith- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast”. so let us ascribe our deliverance completely to God and not think which is blasphemous that we saved or delivered ourselves, attributing any confidence in the will of man but let us boast in the sovereign free will of God. Also, note that David concludes that God’s blessing to be upon his people. David here means Israel, not Assyria or Egypt but upon his chosen people. And now is God’s blessing not upon his church, if you are in Christ Jesus then you are endowed with all of God’s blessing and I pray that more of his blessing may fall upon his church, the elect of all the nations, tribes and tongues.